Sails up 6 a.m. after a calm, clear and peaceful night. Light west wind, a gentle sail down Snode Creek at 1.5 kt. Two dolphin roll in the water near a point on the south shore. Two more alongside SPARTINA. And looking aft I see a few more. We reach Goose Island Creek at 6:30, a crabber working his pots, a single sailboat motoring north on the ICW. Southwest wind, 3.7 on the creek, then 4.3 approaching Pamlico River at 7:00. Two ospreys on the hunt near Reed Hammock, hesitating up the the air then dropping quickly to the water's surface. A buffalo stick and a mixed berry Rx bar for breakfast, steak and eggs. Checking the forecast I hear I'll be heading into the wind all day long.
Off Indian Island at 7:40, the water very choppy and I make 2.8 to 4 knots depending on the waves and chop.
8:30 calmer water and making 3.5 at in the middle of the Pamlico River.
9:10 tacking near the ferry docks
9:45 tack just past the ferry dock on the south shore
10:10 tack east of Gum Thicket, wind swinging to the west
10:35 tack off the phosphate mines
11:05 tack off Bayview
11:45 tack east of Core Point, thin white clouds above
12:00 tack west of Bath Creek entrance, can of tuna and a cup of mixed fruit for lunch
12:25 light winds in the middle of the river, making 2.5
12:40 wind swings to the north and we make better progress up river
12:55 tack near Tripp Point
1:20 tack east of Rugged Point
1:40 tack near the mouth of Nevil Creek, white sandy beach
2:00 tack along the north shore
2:15 tack at Maules Point, better wind though out of the west, making 4.8
2:30 tack off of Goose Creek state park
2:50 tack inside the eastern edge of Blounts Bay
3:00 tack mid-river back toward Blounts Bay
3:30 tack near the mouth of Blounts Creek deep inside the bay
4:05 tack at Broad Creek Point, afternoon gusts arriving, strong blasts of wind out of west and southwest
The river narrows approaching Washington with Whichard Beach to the south and the north shoreline about a mile away. I start make short tacks in the gusts but I also start thinking about a medium rare steak at the nice little steakhouse near the Washington waterfront. I'm hungry and tired and dinner sounds good. I see another gust approaching, a strong one, but instead of heading up into the wind I tighten up the main trying to get the most out of the wind. The gust arrives and quickly the port coaming is under water, the tea-stained water of the Pamlico River coming aboard. Maybe 30 or 40 gallons, the most I've ever taken on board.
SPARTINA quickly rights, the chart book, cook kit and other gear floating in the water. I let the jib go free, slack the main and begin pumping out water. We slide across the channel but no traffic so I focus on getting the water out. I make some progress with the hand-pump but not enough. Maybe continue sailing to Washington and clean out there? Checking distances on the gps I realize with the strong west wind I probably won't make it past the railroad trestle and into the anchorage until dark. And once anchored I would still have a lot of water to pump out, a lot of gear to dry. We turn back downwind and head for Blounts Bay.
Anchor down along a wooded shoreline 5:35. About 20 minutes to pump out, scoop out and sponge out the water. I find the gear in the light kit - nearly all of it bagged - is in good shape. I dry out the cooking gear, hang up the foul weather gear and cushions to dry. I am pleased to open the bunk flat and thwart hatches to find the storage areas (which provide positive flotation) are completely dry. Cleaning those o-ring seals paid off.
Light snacks for dinner in place of a fine steak, a little reading and then slip into the sleeping back as the sun goes down. Dry, rested and ready for the next day.
Running total 162 NM and 46+ hours of sailing.